We (Callum and Ellis) first went to Batiki Island as volunteers with a brilliant charity called Think Pacific, where we participated on a building and sports project in 2012. During the project we formed such close attachments with our host Fijian families that we returned for the next two years to spend Christmas with them, enjoying Fijian life and the amazing culture.
After experiencing the struggle to generate an income on this remote island, we wanted to do something that could help our families, and also the island as a whole. Having seen that Batiki was able to produce coconut oil, and knowing the high demand for Coconut Oil in the UK, we put together plans to begin this venture.
The villagers were extremely excited to start this project, and in 2016, we produced our first trial batch of 160 litres and shipped that to the UK. Due to the success of our trial, we are here today to raise enough money to increase our levels of production to the next stage.
Currently we have sold 800 jars, and the support and feedback that we have had has been amazing - and now we need to take this to the next level to achieve our long term targets within the island community.
THE REMOTE FIJIAN ISLANDS
The Fiji Islands are renowned for their kindness, happiness and their big 'Bula' smiles, and it is our motivation to ensure that this remains within remote Fijian communities for future generations. The increasing need for money in Fiji is becoming a great problem for remote island communities as villagers struggle to finance their children to attend secondary school on the mainland. As a result, many families often leave their island homes to go to the mainland in search of work, meaning that their traditional island lifestyle will slowly get left behind. Help us provide a sustainable income for the villagers of Batiki and allow the Fijian traditions and culture to thrive once again.
OUR BULA BATIKI COCONUT OIL
Our Virgin Coconut Oil is raw and cold-pressed. It is also gluten and lactose free, produced on an island free from pollution. Being handmade by the villagers of Batiki Island, we are proud that our Coconut Oil is not mass produced by machines in a factory. We are the only brand in the world that can trace each jar of Coconut Oil back to the family that produced it, and we put the name of that family on each of our jars. Our Coconut Oil is completely natural, with nothing added or taken away. It takes 6 of Batiki's finest coconuts to make each jar of our Coconut Oil!
USES OF COCONUT OIL
Virgin Coconut Oil has more than 100 uses! Coconut Oil can be used within cooking for frying, baking and roasting, and can also be used as a substitute for butter or mixing in coffee. Virgin Coconut Oil is also a great natural hair and skincare moisturiser.
Batiki is currently in the process of becoming certified as a completely organic island, which we hope will be completed soon. As a small business, we currently do not have the funds available to have our product certified as organic, although you can be assured that absolutely nothing is added or taken away from our coconuts, nor our Coconut Oil. No chemicals. No artificial ingredients. Nothing.
We believe that Bula Batiki represents its ‘own version’ of a fair trade symbol. The mission for our social enterprise is to create a sustainable income to the villagers of Batiki Island. Without this vision, our organisation would simply not have happened, for 100% of our profits are reinvested back into the island community.
VISIONS AND VALUES
Our VISION is to be able to provide a sustainable income for remote communities in Fiji, particularly within the Lomaiviti Province (not just Batiki), through selling the finest quality Virgin Coconut Oil. 100% of our profits are then to be reinvested back into these communities in order to provide developments in education, healthcare and housing. Ultimately, we hope that once Batiki has reached its maximum sustainable production limit, we will be able to expand and offer the same opportunities to remote neighbouring islands.
Our VALUES are to be 100% honest and dedicated, and to ensure that everything we do is for the good of both our customers and the villagers of Batiki, and the rest of Fiji.
CYCLONE WINSTON'S IMPACT ON BATIKI
THE FUTURE OF BULA BATIKI
In Batiki there are around 50 families with a total of 300 villagers, all of which are now able to produce Bula Batiki Coconut Oil. In the future, we hope to be able to increase our sales so that we can offer the same opportunities to the islands surrounding Batiki, and provide an income for over 5,000 Fijian villagers. We also want to be able to introduce new oils that are only found in Fiji, and new products that display the amazing talents of the Fijian people. We have now partnered with the charity Sea Mercy, who also provided amazing assistance to Batiki following Cyclone Winston.
Our long terms aims are:
- Expand to other islands surrounding Batiki to offer them the same income opportunities.
- To fund Kindergarten programs in each of Batiki's four villages.
- To fund the Batiki Island Scholarship Scheme so that every child can go to secondary school, and to further education if they wish.
- To fund renewable energy in Batiki Island so that the villagers have access to electricity.
BULA BATIKI T-SHIRTS
We would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to our story, and we really appreciate the support and backing that you have given us. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality Fijian Coconut Oil and hearing your feedback!
From everyone on Batiki Island, we would like to say a huge 'vinaka vakalevu', that is Fijian for thank you very much!
Thanks again for taking the time to read about Batiki and the amazing Fijian people that we hope to support through our project. We really hope that you are able to join the Bula Batiki movement and we thank you for your support!
Callum & Ellis (Bula Batiki)
Risks and challenges
So far we have received three shipments of Coconut Oil (totalling 500 litres). Our first two shipments (totalling 300 litres) have sold out, and our third shipment is being prepared for the earlybird rewards of this Kickstarter campaign.
One challenge that we initially found was the expensive shipping cost from Fiji to the UK. However, with the amazing generosity from Fiji Store UK we have been able to share the shipping container space which more than halved our transportation cost.
In terms of the challenge of selling our Coconut Oil, we are using different channels of sale. Firstly, we have our online store which is our most popular method of sale. We have also got into 5 small independent health stores across the UK in Cheltenham, St. Albans and Northern Ireland. Lastly, we have also had great success within UK markets, most notably at Fiji Day UK, which has been a great way of spreading the word about our venture.
In order to overcome any potential challenges, we are constantly planning new ideas with Think Pacific and Sea Mercy to ensure that Fijian culture continues to thrive in these remote communities. Think Pacific are able to provide us with invaluable assistance towards supporting the children and education programs that we will be running in the future, and we are working with Sea Mercy on exploring all options for economic development for the communities across remote South Pacific Islands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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